The Good Place in Harlem

by Lapacazo Sandoval (L’s Harlem)

In life, you must have goals and passion. Passion is key because if you love what you do, and do what you love — you don’t work a day in your life. Not really — you get paid to have fun!

I was reminded of that giddy, heady feeling while eating lunch at CLOVE in of all things, while wearing my p.j.’s because that’ s how close this divine, new eating joint is to my apartment door.

CLOVE is located directly in front of CUNY and since it’s opening, I’ve been singing a new tune because the food, which is affordable, is worth singing about!

It’s good. No. Wait. Not just good. It’s the type of good that gives good a good name! It’s the kind of good that makes vegetarians smile and vegans share their culinary joy via Facebook and twitter.

It’s also the “kind of good” that makes loyals customers, of Kismat Indian Restaurant — a stable in Washington Heights for 30 years — come all the way downtown to have a taste of Clove.

The family that owns Kismat (The Ahmed’s) aren’t angry or surprised. In fact, they expected a certain overflow since CLOVE is their second restaurant, and it’s a total family affair.

In fact, Mr. Ahmed, who insists on being called by his first name, Sonny, has let his son Anil (Ahmed) design and run Clove.

It was Anil that found the location for Clove and convinced his family to secure the lease (which took years before they could actually open) and ultimately, design the interior.

It’s also Anil that goes with his father to hand pick the seasonal vegetables and pours over every detail.

That’s passion that that’s an Ahmed family trait.

“I grew up in the kitchen, in the Washington Heights restaurant,” said Anil Ahmed. “I love what I do. I learned from the cooks, and my family and most of all, from my father, to love what you do. Hopefully, you can taste that difference.”

“My father is Muslim. My mother is Hindu, and she grew up in an island culture. This merging of styles and eating practices shapes our menu, which is based on the freshest ingredients, or we don’t make that dish,” she went on to say.

In September, I will share more details on just how “personal” the food preparation is, starting with how they choose the fresh, farm-to-table produce.

I highly recommend that you take full advantage of the Monday to Friday — All You Can Eat $9.99 Buffett (11 to 3pm). Tailored for meat eaters (melt in your mouth), vegetarians, and vegans.

Tell Anil Ahmed that Lapacazo Sandoval a.k.a. L from L’s Harlem sent ya!